Every good cook needs a great stock. My homemade vegetable stock is infused with layers of healthy flavor from tons of veggies, herbs and spices, and can take any dish from ordinary to spectacular.
Is there a vegan cook out there who doesn't have a horror story about working hard to exorcise some recipe of meat, only to end up with a pale and ghastly version of the original? Because let's face it-- great vegan cooking is not easy work. You need to put that creative muscle through a pretty tough workout to get results that are not just good but spectacular.
And there's no harm in taking some help where it's available. Today I want to share with you one tool in my flavor arsenal that I turn to when I want to pack a punch into a recipe without too much work. My golden, delicious vegetable stock infused with layers of flavor from herbs, spices, vegetables and even fruits.
Now I know that the world hasn't been waiting with bated breath for my vegetable stock recipe but trust me when I tell you this stock can take a dish from ordinary to sublime. Stocks, in general, are a great way to infuse flavor into just about any recipe, from soups, dishes with a gravy or curry, to a vegan beef stew or a bean curry, and rice dishes like pilafs, biryanis and Vegan Mushroom Barley Risotto. And this stock certainly does the job.
I like to brown my vegetables first which gives the stock not just a great golden color but also tons of flavor from the caramelized onions, garlic and vegetables. I also add to it a couple of simple spices -- allspice and peppercorns-- although if you were making this stock mainly for an Indian dish you could add other spices too, like cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.
The stock is very little work-- it practically cooks itself, although you do need to spend a few minutes at the beginning sauteing the vegetables. And although you can definitely rough-chop the vegetables, don't cut them into very large pieces-- you want the water to be able to draw as much flavor out of them as possible. On the other hand don't go overboard and mince the vegetables either.
One quick tip before I give you the recipe-- you don't have to pull out all your best vegetables when making a stock. Scraps and odds and ends left over from cooking other dishes are perfectly acceptable. I sometimes freeze asparagus stalks-- the hard ends you can't eat -- and celery tips and apple peels. You can even add onion and garlic skins, although you might want to stay away from anything that would add bitterness, like citrus peels.
Here's the recipe. Enjoy!
- 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 medium carrots (chopped into 1-inch bits)
- 2 stalks celery (chopped into 1-inch bits)
- 6 button mushrooms (optional, halved or quartered if very large)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled or unpeeled, cut into half if large)
- 1-inch knob ginger (cut into strips)
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 allspice corns (crushed slightly)
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10-12 cups of water
- 2 sprigs rosemary (Other savory herbs are fine too, like thyme or sage. Use 1 teaspoon if using dried rosemary. Herbs like mint, coriander and parsley are not great in stocks.)
- Heat the oil in a stock pot. Add the onions and salt and saute over medium-high until the onions start to turn golden-brown at the edges.
- Add the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, all-spice, peppercorns, carrots, celery and mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the water-- the less water you add, the more flavor your stock will have. I prefer adding about 12 cups, but you could add less.
- Bring the stock to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower the heat to a simmer, and let the stock cook, undisturbed, for an hour.
- Turn off the heat. Let the stock stand until cool and then strain through a fine-meshed sieve or a sieve covered with cheesecloth. Press down on the vegetables to release any liquid in them.
- Voila! Your stock is ready. Refrigerate and use as needed.
Recipes that use vegetable stock (practically any recipe that needs water, but here are just a few ideas):
- Mixed Beans Masala Bowl with Sweet Potatoes and Turmeric Rice
- Easy Vegetable Curry with Chickpeas
- Vegetable Biryani
This stock is ABSOLUTELY delicious.
I started making Pho, and the result using this recipe for the broth was far and away better than anything I've had in a restaurant. It is just so darn tasty. Way better than the best chicken stock I've had. The flavor is full body, but also fresh and alive. Totally perfect.
I followed the recipe exactly as is, and got my onions most of the way toward carmelized before adding the other stuff.
For the best Pho on the planet--use this veggie stock recipe, then add cooked rice noodles, fresh lime juice, sprouts, microgreens, tons of basil, fresh mint, sauted shittake mushrooms, chopped green onion, lots and lots of fish sauce, some chili sesame oil, and some chili garlic sauce. Perfection.
So happy you loved it, Micah, and thanks for the pho recipe--fabulous.
The stock looks like a lovely colour, and I will so be trying this recipe. The only thing I would say is that while parsley leafs aren't great in stock, the stalks are amazing. Also, dried mushrooms give a great umami flavour, and dried mushrooms are things I tend to have 'hanging' around. Look forward to trying this recipe, all the best.
I have made this stock 3 times now and I am very pleased with the wonderful soups and curries that I can make with it. Excellent recipe.
Looks like a great recipe, just wondering when to add the peppercorns and allspice?
With the veggies. Cheers.
Thank you so much for this recipe!!
As a vegetarian i can strugle to make a good broth. Looking at this makes me confident it will be great.
Will try to make your black- eyed peas recipe tomorrow.
Looks good and healthy. Love your style of writing aswell!
I was using way too much water!!! No wonder it tasted watery. Grrr.
How many cups of vegetable stock does this make? It may be a dumb question, but does some of the water boil away?
You should get about 8 - 10 cups of stock. Cheers.
Sounds good - thanks for answering so quickly!
One thing.. parsley is great in stock when added at the end of cooking, and the white root of it (parsnip) is perfect for broth making along with carrots, celery, onion, garlic and mushroom (however I always use dried and then soaked once; they have more pronounced flavor)...preferences!
Nice recipe. I always add ginger to my stocks. It adds dimension. I like using cilantro stems also. Roasting the veggies adds additional flavor too. I cook mine until soft, drain then place under low broiler until lightly browned then return to liquid.
Thanks for posting!!!!
The recipe looks great and i will defeinately be making it but on step 3 where it says less water will impart more flavor; i have always believed that true stock flavor comes in the reduction. I am going to try the recipe as is (minus the salt) and reduce to about half and it will concentrate the flavor greatly. I went to a cooking school and we didnt even have a vegetable stock that looks this good
Pallavi Kulkarni Desai
What a lovely, lovely color! Browning the veges is such a good idea. I had seen a video on YouTube, where they veges are chopped and added, even onion and that did not appeal to me, but this is a way better idea 🙂 Thank you.
Thanks, Pallavi. The browning really adds flavor.
Vaishali, how long does it keep? I hate the store bought ones that have tons of sodium in it. Would love to make and keep this to use as needed.
Hi Anusha, it will last in the refrigerator about five to six days, but you can freeze it in smaller portion-sized containers. That way you could use it for much longer.
Lovely colour! I'm sure it would taste amazing, too!
Thanks, Cassandra, it does. 🙂
gorgeous color Vaishali. the only time i make stock is when I am making pho, coz really there can no pho without it. 🙂
Thanks, Richa. Reminds me-- gotta make some pho. 🙂